Photo Journal Monday: Jan Banning
Down and Out in the South is portrait series of homeless men and women whom Jan Banning encountered in South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi in 2010 and 2011.
Jan Banning is a Dutch autonomous artist/photographer, based in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
He was born in Almelo (Netherlands) on May 4, 1954, from Dutch East Indies parents, and he studied social and economic history at the Radboud University of Nijmegen. Both of these facts have had a strong influence on his photographic works.
The project started in September 2010, when 701 Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Columbia, S.C. (U.S.) invited me as an artist-in-residence. A board member of the CCA suggested homelessness as a possible subject matter for me to explore through photography during this residency. Initially, I was skeptical because society’s outcasts have been photographed very often, and I worried that I had little to contribute to existing images. However, after some consideration, I came up with a different approach: to photograph people who are homeless as I would photograph any other member of society. That implied not scouting out the most picturesque people I could find, with beards and hats, and leaving out the typical paraphernalia, such as shopping carts and sleeping bags. My approach also implied not photographing them in dramatizing black and white — imagery so often associated with portraits of homelessness. Instead of presenting them as The Other, and thus, by default, different from us, I wanted to photograph them in a studio setting, against a neutral backdrop, focusing on their individuality rather than on stereotypes. In essence, I want to show who they are rather than what they are labeled.
To find out more about Jan’s work please click here.